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0:08 Ford Raids Silicon Valley for Talent
1:22 Qualcomm’s Automotive Chip Business Is Booming
2:19 Canada Becoming Major Source of EV Raw Materials
3:59 Mercedes G-Class Going Electric
4:31 VW Concept Anticipates Autonomous Travel
5:21 BMW’s Hybrid V8 Race Engine
6:49 DHS Buys a Mustang Mach-E
7:28 Mahle’s IC Components for H2 Engines
8:28 Toyota TABC Turns 50
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
FORD RAIDS SILICON VALLEY FOR TALENT
In a sign of how much the traditional auto industry is changing, Ford raided Silicon Valley for a bunch of executives with expertise in electronics and software. It already head hunted Doug Field away from Apple. He was brought in to run Ford’s EV business, what it calls Ford Model E. And Ford just gave him even more responsibility including design and hardware engineering. Roz Ho was hired away from HP. Prior to that she worked at Microsoft, but she’s now going to be in charge of developing software defined vehicles. Jae Park used to work at Google and Amazon. He’s going to be in charge of digital product design. Sammy Omari, previously from Motional, the joint venture between Hyundai and Aptiv, will run advanced driver assist technologies. And Rob Bedichek, who came from Intel and Apple will now run platform architecture. Ford’s CEO Jim Farley has said the company needs to recruit new talent with new skills as it transitions to software-defined electric vehicles. And now he’s turning those words into action.
QUALCOMM’S AUTOMOTIVE CHIP BUSINESS IS BOOMING
Cars use a lot of computer chips and they’re going to start using even more and that is turning into a bonanza for Qualcomm. Last year it did less than $1 billion in automotive chips but now it says it has $30 billion worth of business in the “pipeline.” That’s $10 billion more than it had last quarter. Qualcomm’s SnapDragon Digital Chassis is driving that growth. It’s what GM is using for its UltraCruise system. SnapDragon runs ADAS technology, in-car infotainment and cloud connectivity. The company says it will have anywhere from $200 up to $3,000 worth of chips per vehicle, with the automakers it’s working with. And by 2030, Qualcomm says the automotive chip business could grow to $100 billion annually.
CANADA BECOMING MAJOR SOURCE OF EV RAW MATERIALS
Canada is emerging as a major source of raw materials to make EV batteries. LG Energy is going to start mining lithium and cobalt there with three Canadian mining companies. EV batteries made in the U.S. with raw materials that are mined in Canada could qualify for up to $3,750 worth of subsidies provided in the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act. Automakers want raw materials and their processing located close to where batteries will be manufactured. That cuts their shipping costs and their carbon footprint. For example, today, nickel that is mined in Northern Michigan travels 20,000 miles to Finland and China for processing, before it ends up back in the U.S. to go into batteries.
MERCEDES G-CLASS GOING ELECTRIC
It won’t be too much longer before people are doing electric off-roading in class, the Mercedes G-Class that is. Company chairman Ola Kallenius said that it will launch the electric version of the G-Class in mid- to late-2024. It was about a year ago that Mercedes revealed the Concept EQG and after a ride in a prototype, which would have been around the same time, Kallenius says, “From now on, going off-road is electric.”
VW CONCEPT ANTICIPATES AUTONOMOUS TRAVEL
Here’s an interesting concept from Volkswagen, called the GEN.TRAVEL. It’s all-electric and features Level 5 autonomous capability to free up time for passengers to do other things. The interior is modular and reconfigurable, which means it can be customized to how each person or group plans to use it. And active suspension and seats that can lay completely flat will help keep passengers comfortable. VW refers to the GEN.TRAVEL as a IEV or Innovation Experience Vehicle and will use it to get customer responses to the concept and its functionalities. Based on those results, individual features will make their way into series production vehicles.
BMW’S HYBRID V8 RACE ENGINE
For the first time in 25 years BMW’s M Motorsport division developed a prototype race car. The BMW M Hybrid V8 will compete in the new GTP class in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship racing series. The cars in this class aren’t allowed to weigh much more than 1,000 kilograms or about 2,200 pounds and as the name implies, it’s powered by a hybrid V8. The engine is a 4.0L twin-turbo unit that cranks out 640 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque and redlines at 8,200 RPM. BMW started testing the M Hybrid V8 this week in the U.S. at Sebring International Raceway and its first race is Daytona in January of next year.
DHS BUYS A MUSTANG MACH-E
Will enough people really embrace electric vehicles? We don’t know that yet. But we’re seeing fleet operators like Hertz and Autonomy rapidly adding EVs to their lineups. And now the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is the first federal agency to add a BEV for law enforcement to its fleet. It’s a modified Ford Mustang Mach-E that includes lights and sirens in accordance with the Federal Protective Service standards. It’s currently undergoing standard testing, like ride and handling and endurance. But it’s also being tested for any cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
MAHLE’S IC COMPONENTS FOR H2 ENGINES
Internal combustion engines don’t emit CO2. It’s the gasoline or diesel fuel in those engines that emits those emissions when they’re burned. Change out those fuels with one that doesn’t have any carbon in it, and you can get rid of the CO2 emissions in an IC engine. So the supplier Mahle developed components for IC engines so they can easily be converted to run on hydrogen. That includes pistons with deep-bowled heads for complete combustion, as well as piston rings, connecting rods, pins, and cylinder liners. It also makes what it calls a high-pressure impactor. It’s essentially a pump that purges the crankcase of any residual hydrogen to prevent possible fires. Mahle says IC engines running on hydrogen could be perfect for heavy-duty and off-road vehicles that operate at high loads and need sudden bursts of energy.
TOYOTA TABC TURNS 50
Toyota is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its first North American manufacturing plant. Everyone knows it as TABC, or the Toyota Auto Body Company. It’s located in Long Beach, California, and Toyota originally built that plant to avoid the 25% import tax on imported trucks. Toyota would import pickups from Japan without a bed. TABC would make the beds and bolt them onto the pickups. And then Toyota would claim that the final assembly of the truck was actually done in the United States. That worked well for years until the US Commerce Department decided to close that loophole and stop those imports. Today, TABC is the primary parts supplier for Tacoma pickups and it makes service body parts for all of Toyota’s past models produced in North America.
But that’s it for today, thanks for watching and have a great weekend.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.